I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed a St. Patrick’s Day since I began bartending. At it’s best, it’s a tsunami of drunks yelling and screaming for your attention in the sheer hope that their next car bomb will make them black out and forget all about St. Patrick’s Day. At it’s worst, it’s three overweight late thirties, early forty year old dudes regaling each other with tales of busier St. Patrick’s Day. It was far more the latter than the former, unfortunately. Now, I have an amazing memory at times. But I had to read a prior blog to remember how busy (or not) St. Patrick’s Day was.
I could tell you about all the douche bags who feel that it’s all right to tip three dollars on fifty-six or zero on forty-five, but my web hosting only allots ten terabytes, which equals about sixty-two kajillion blog posts, and I’m sure that would bore you. I’m not gonna go into the heroes we had. I will say that our food this year was light years ahead of years prior. In fact, both Kevin and Tim said that the fish n’ chips was the best they’ve had and they don’t smoke weed, so you know it’s legit. The only story I’m going to tell is about the malfunction.
It must’ve been around eleven o’ clock. The computer system gave it’s warning that it was resetting. It said, “Be right back.” Now anytime a change is made to the system, e.g. providing an employee with a new card or a price change, the system must be reset to incorporate this new information. I found it strange that someone was changing the system a few hours before our busiest day of the year was to end, but I let that thought go. It wasn’t until Amanda told me that every tab on the computer was missing its name that I suspected that something went awry. When I receive a credit card, John Smith, to open a tab, I press start tab, then slide the card, and add drinks, food, whatever, then send. When I want to reopen that tab, I hit reopen and scroll to “Smith, J.” When I went to search for a tab this time, there was no identifier except for the number associated with the tab. Alas, this isn’t Bergen-Belsen, we use names and not numbers to identify our customers.
I’m not sure if I can convey how bad this was. I figure in the grand scheme of awful events happening to our bar, it would go in order: 1) Anthrax, 2) Suicide bomber, 3) Hug a homeless person happy hour, 4) this shit. I flagged down a manager and explained the event. I asked who was in the office resetting the system. I was informed that no one was. That leaves either the ghost, that all of our Mexican employees and Kevin feel that haunts our bar, or the system sucks my balls. Since I don’t believe in ghosts, I’m gonna go with the latter. One of our new owners was on the phone with the help desk and he was told that we may have had too many tabs open. First of all, we had more tabs open last year on St. Patrick’s Day. Second of all, why would you sell a system that doesn’t allow a business to, I don’t know, do business? It’s not like we’re loading video with each order. I don’t understand how a sixteen digit credit card or eight letter food order could shut down the system no matter how many times it was replicated. Third of all, fuck you and your shitty system shutting down on the busiest day of the year.
I feel better now.
At one point, I was told that we were only accepting cash. I tried to convey that to disbelieving customers and I said, “Look, man, the worst fucking thing that could happen to our system did.” And you know what they said, “Was it ‘Hug a homeless person happy hour’?” And I said, “Not that bad.” I tried to run imprints of people’s cards and have them sign blank slips. They didn’t fall for that one. Eventually, we had to go by memory and re-ring their cards. By the end of it we realized that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed at that moment. We definitely lost money, but probably not as much as we first thought.
I feel like I’ve seen a glimpse of the future. Not the future where Godzilla is born from a Komodo dragon at the Fukushima prefecture zoo (too soon?), but one where everything on computers gets shut down. I’m far from a luddite. In fact, if I had to choose between my penis or my cell phone, it’s an easy choice. My cell phone, because you can’t google on your penis and God knows I’ve tried. When I wake up one morning and find that the internet has imploded and nothing works, I will remember that I had a vision of this day. I’ll remember that I was behind the bar on the busiest day of the year complaining that the busiest day of the year should’ve been a whole lot busier.
Pic by: BLW Photography